Another of my China photos, a town perched above a bend in the Yangtze River. Originally photographed on 35mm film, the scanned image showed the flaws of excessive grain, particularly in the sky, which only become really obvious when brought into the digital realm. The computer, and with it the desire to produce larger image sizes, is less forgiving than earlier, pre-digital, film based processes where many images were never printed larger than postcard size. Yes, this is largely a function of the final image size and just how much enlargement the film can tolerate, but it’s also due to digital capture being inherently “cleaner” as well.
The final image is a blend of two different processings of the one file, layered in Photoshop. Film grain was most noticeable in the sky and so a significant amount of noise reduction, and some additional blurring, was applied to one layer and then masked over the other layer which was given little noise reduction so as to retain as much detail as possible in the mid ground.
The layers were then merged and the resulting composite taken into Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro plugin (CFX). CFX’s “soft landscape” preset was applied and then tweaked to arrive at the final image shown here.
Long time readers will have noticed that the website and blog have changed and evolved over time. Part of this ongoing evolution is a decision to repost/republish some earlier material into a more up to date format within the WordPress blogging platform. Accordingly I have republished my article Sharpening digital images. Originally posted back in 2008 but I believe still relevant! ~KD